Whether it’s taking bombs from the NRL opposition or barbs from his Melbourne teammates, Cameron Munster says bring it on.
Melbourne had been expected to falter following season-ending shoulder surgery to star fullback Billy Slater but his replacement Munster has been integral in their charge into the preliminary finals.
Far from just a fill-in, the 21-year-old has been a highlight in attack, topping the Storm’s run metres in Friday night’s qualifying final win over the Sydney Roosters.
The minor premiers regularly tested him under the high ball and he passed with flying colours.
While he admitted the pace and pressure of the match felt like a grand final, Munster handled it like a seasoned pro, thanks to some advice from the world’s best fullback Slater.
“Billy’s been really great to me; he tells me to back myself and talk to Cooper (Cronk) and Smithy (Cameron Smith),” Munster said.
“They’ve played in a lot of grand finals so (he said) to jump on the back of them.”
The Rockhampton junior is one of a number of Storm players in only their first or second NRL seasons.
They seem to be relish the high stakes of the finals, which five-eighth Blake Green says is a plus – although the senior players still keep them in check.
“Confidence is not an issue with young kids these days,” Green said.
“Cam (Munster) has been really good for us and he has a big role to play and done an enormous job.
“It’s not hard to stay grounded at this club – they get plenty of stick if they carry on too much.”
Munster said he took no notice of the glowing press reports and didn’t mind the veterans keeping him on a tight leash.
“I cop everything – it doesn’t matter if I’m not doing anything, I’m still copping it and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Munster said.
“I like a bit of banter and I like having a laugh with the boys.”
The Storm will host the winner of this weekend’s elimination semi-final between North Queensland and Cronulla.